Grad School – When to Prep and Apply

A day planner.Applying to graduate school is a lot different than applying to college. There’s a variety of different types of programs, and generally graduate programs have more autonomy within a university than undergraduate degrees. Because of the differences and unique aspects of many graduate programs, it’s important to get started early if you are applying to graduate school. To help, we’ve put together a general timeline that you can follow as you get started in your graduate school journey.

Graduate school applications are generally due by November or December the year before you plan to start. This can vary from program to program, sometimes with rolling deadlines as late as the semester before you plan to start. Because of this, you want to start planning a year or more out to make sure you can put the necessary time into the application process.

When What
18 months out Start researching graduate programs and the standardized tests that may be required. Your Career Advisor, Anderson Academic Commons, and your professors are helpful resources at this stage.
11-12 months out Take required standardized tests (such as the GRE or GMAT), begin writing your personal statement, and meet with your Career Advisor. Start looking into financial aid and request letters of recommendation.
9-10 months out Order official transcripts, complete your personal statement and any application essays, and get submit your application as soon as you are ready. Make sure to apply for any fellowships or assistantships as well.
6-8 months out Visit prospective campuses, connect with current students and alumni of the programs you applied to, and fill out financial aid applications.
4-5 months out Decide which program to attend, follow-up with your references, and place the deposit at your graduate institution.

Want additional guidance and support? Schedule an appointment with your Career Advisor in Pioneer Careers.

By Kyle Inselman
Kyle Inselman Director, Alumni Career & Professional Development